This week, at a meeting in New York, the United Nations will establish a Forum on Forests. This is the culmination of a plethora of international processes that date back to the Tropical Forestry Action Plan of 1985. I have taken part in all these discussions. What impact have they had on the forests?
BOGOR, West Java (JP): During the last dry season the signs of land use conflict were plain to see in southern Sumatra. Armed with a box of matches and plenty of nerve, local communities were reclaiming land taken from them during the Soeharto era.
BOGOR, West Java (JP): A study sponsored by two International organizations shows that Indonesia’s forests widely regarded as among the most biologically important tropical forests in the world are under dire threat as heavily debt-laden companies struggle obtain sufficient wood for continuous production.
JAKARTA — Asia Pulp & Paper Co., Asia’s largest pulp and paper maker outside of Japan, is facing a wood fiber shortage that could raise operating costs and erode future profits, according to independent research.
Jakarta, Nov. 27 (Bloomberg) – Asia Pulp & Paper Co., Asia’s largest pulp and paper maker outside of Japan, is facing a wood fiber shortage that could raise operating costs and erode future profits, according to independent research. The research sponsored by the Indonesia-based Center for International Forestry Research and the World Wide Fund for Nature Macroeconomics Program Office – finds that yields from the company’s timber plantations will meet only half the wood needed for its main mill at PT Indah Kiat Pulp & Paper unit to run at full capacity, at best.
Bogor, West Java (JP): Once described by Middle Eastern traders as the ‘frankincense of Sumatra,’ benzoin (kemenyan) from Indonesia has been sold for more than a thousand years in markets around the world.
“We know how to grow maize and raise cattle,” explains Enrique Lopez, a loquacious Mayan Indian with angular features and a complexion the colour of mahogany. Like the other men who accompany us up a dirt track above Yaluma, a village in the Chiapas highlands, he is wearing the uniform of the Mexican campesino: starch-white sombrero, patched-up trousers and ragged boots. “But I don’t want my children to do these things, to be poor like us,” he continues. “I want them to study. And for that I need money, which is what I hope these trees will bring us.”
Indigenous Mayan villages in Chiapas, in southern Mexico, have discovered a new cash crop. It certainly won’t bring them the riches that gold brought earlier Amerindian civilisations, but it should give them a new source of income. Next to their fields of beans and maize they are planting trees: not, as you might expect, for timber – although they will yield that too – but for the environmental services they provide.